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Apparently you are supposed to take a much higher dose of iron per day as the traditional iron supplements you buy over the counter have too low a dosage for people who have a very low ferretin level.

The low dose supplements might be ok for people whose levels have fallen a bit and just need a small lift over a couple of months or so. People with extremely low levels need to get their levels up quite fast as it's not a case of simply being anemic or having low ferretin levels, if left low for too long a period it can affect your thyroid among other things.

The iron pills i bought over the counter constipated me, but i had more success with iron in liquid form and suffered no nasty side effects. I then began taking an iron powder supplement given to me by a specialist, but i ended up with irritable bowel. He then got me to continue taking the powdered supplement but added some organic iron tablets for me to take which took away the irritable bowel symptoms (he said something about there being organic and nonorganic iron and one gives possible side effects to some people while the other relieves the side effects, i will have to ask him again as there is just way too much new info for me to take in when i visit him). He did mention that the stomach cramping and diarrhea where likely either due to the dosage being too much too soon and too start off with a lower dosage and taking it after meals, then building up the dosage, then to take it before meals. This still didn't work for me and he felt that it was due to my liver which wasnt coping well after such low iron levels for so many years. In the end adding the organic iron tablets helped calm things.

I was on an extremely high dosage iron supplement too, but my levels only went up a bit and then refused to climb and instead dropped a bit. He then got me to do iron injections once a week for 5 weeks and i'll have a blood test soon to see where my levels are, but i feel better than i have felt in at least 6yrs.

From what my doctor told me, you need the high dose as so many areas of your body rely on sufficient iron, eg: your bone marrow, muscles, thyroid, hair/skin/nails etc. There is a type of chain of command and when your body gets iron a particular organ or part of your body will get the iron before other parts of your body do, your hair/skin/nails and your energy levels get what ever iron is left over after the rest of your body has taken what it needs. That's why you feel lethargic, tired, depressed and your nails can get brittle and your hair can shed a lot more.

As for your symptoms your are getting from your iron supplement, dont be afraid to speak to your doctor and ask for products which may be a bit more gentle on your system.

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